(CNN)Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is open to using military drone strikes on American soil to secure the border.
Ben Carson open to using drones on U.S. soil to secure border
"You look at some of these caves and things out there one drone strike, boom, and they're gone," Carson told reporters near the border Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate KPHO.
The retired neurosurgeon discussed illegal immigration following a helicopter tour of the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as smuggling and scout locations.
"I'm suggesting we do what we need to do to secure the border -- whatever that is," Carson said. CNN has reached out to the Carson campaign to clarify whether he'd back lethal force from drones on the border.
On Tuesday, nearly 12,000 people came out to hear the retired neurosurgeon speak at the Phoenix Convention Center, according to Arizona Republican Chairman Robert Graham. The event was originally scheduled for a suburban church that seats 2,300 before being moved to a room for 6,000 people, and drew more attendees than Donald Trump at the same location last month, according to the Arizona Republic.
"We the People stood strongly holding the banner of freedom high for all to see tonight. #HealInspireRevive," Carson tweeted following the event.
Following a strong performance in the first Republican debate, Carson has solidified his spot as a top-tier candidate in the CNN/ORC poll -- and has been a consistent favorite among evangelicals.
The most recent poll from CNN has Carson in third among white evangelical voters with 11%. Trump is leading with 23% and Bush is second with 16%.
"All the pundits say it's impossible," Carson said. "I just said, 'Lord, if you want me to do it, if you open the doors, I will walk through them.'"
Faith has been a big part of Carson's appeal who landed on the national political scene after a National Prayer Breakfast speech criticizing the Affordable Care Act and other Obama Administration policies.
Carson speaks often about how his mother's strong Christian values helped turn him from a mischievous adolescent to a high-achieving student. After attending public school in inner-city Detroit, Carson headed to Yale and eventually became an internationally recognized pediatric neurosurgeon.
He has since become one of the leading candidates criticizing Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling organs and tissue from aborted fetuses.
Planned Parenthood "doesn't seem to understand the sanctity of human life and is willing to destroy that," he told CNN.